Recognising the sterling efforts of the construction companies doing most to save the planet, this year's hero is a client-architect partnership that has been truly innovative. This award is sponsored by White Young Green
Gazeley and Chetwoods
Shed development has never been the sexiest sector of the construction industry, but innovative shed specialist Gazeley is pushing hard to put warehouses in the vanguard of green buildings - literally. It recently released details of a concept distribution centre that would be a net energy producer, complete with grass on the roof that would provide a natural habitat for flora and fauna. Gazeley has scooped this award for its "Voltaic" shed in Dagenham. Designed by architect Chetwoods, this extraordinary structure uses its roof as water collector, light and electricity generator. Gazeley estimates that more than 120 tonnes of CO2 are saved per year compared with a standard shed of the same size - making it a shining example for others to follow.
Amec's commitment to sustainability across every area of its operations has earned it a well-deserved commendation in this year's awards. The benchmarking of more than 40 sustainability-related key performance indicators on projects and the implementation of its Agenda 21 plan of environmental targets bear witness to the company's belief in the green agenda. Key projects that impressed our judges included the measurement and reduction of what Amec terms "dirty costs" - such as consultancy fees, insurance, fuel costs and mobile phone bills - as well as age and gender profiling of staff and a waste minimisation strategy.
Forward-looking initiatives such as e-billing to save paper, achieving ISO14001 across all its business units, and a wholesale switch to renewable energy usage have firmly put consultant Atkins among the most sustainable construction businesses. The worldwide firm's commitment has also stretched to car-sharing schemes, and this year it won an "excellent" rating from BREEAM for its sustainable refurbishment of DEFRA's Nobel House headquarters. It has also pledged to extend programmes to measure energy efficiency across the buildings it runs.
Architect Bennetts Associates has been behind some of the exemplar sustainable buildings in the UK, including the Loch Lomond visitor centre and Brighton's Jubilee Library. Achievements this year to earn it a place among the finalists included its implementation of a Charter for Sustainability at the £200m New Street Square project for Land Securities in the City of London, as well as a major contribution to the British Council for Offices' sustainability recommendations in its 2005 specifications.
Rockwool International has stepped up the already impressive environmental measures at its South Wales factory in recent years - and stepped into the list of finalists. The firm has proved that going green can save some hard cash, too. It reckons that environmentally friendly practices such as re-using unwanted pallets, upgrading the process water system and compressing the product packs, so cutting the number of deliveries needed, saved it more than £300,000 in the first eight months of last year.
Contractor Willmott Dixon has set out its stall on sustainability since forming its strategic sustainability team in 2004. The team, led by George Martin, the former director of sustainability at the Building Research Establishment, made huge strides in the last 12 months. Achievements included training eight staff as BREEAM assessors, appointing four environmental managers and spending £12,000 to develop a prototype green site cabin. The firm says that its target for 2006 is to continue to raise awareness among its supply chain. We say: keep up the good work.
Building Awards 2006
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